New Album Released June 2019

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Vancouver Island-based folk band The Sweet Lowdown (Amanda Blied, Miriam Sonstenes, Tad Ruszel) have been nominated for a 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award for their newly released EP, Low Clouds in the Morning (2019). 

The EP features all original music composed by all three members including the singles. “Event Horizon,” “Walk Again” and “Across the Sky.” This is the third CFMA nomination for the band, but the first since being joined by newest member Tad Ruszel on vocals, mandolin and guitar. Banjo player Shanti Bremer left the project in 2017. 

The band released Low Clouds in the Morning rather quietly last summer after recording it in the spring in Victoria, BC with Ruszel, who engineered the album. “We had no budget and the circumstances were far from ideal, but we loved the music we’d been making together, and we felt our fans would too,” says Sonstenes. “We needed to capture the material that was ready in the small window that was available to us, if we could, and we all made some sacrifices to do so. 

“Lucky for us, Tad had the skills to engineer the album too.” 

“Some of the material we chose to record had come out of really difficult personal circumstances and the process of creating it was critical to our own healing and transcendence,” says Blied. “We wanted to share the fruits of that work — the grace we experienced through our writing and music-making — with our listeners: that we all have something we wish to heal. 

“We all have situations or circumstances we aspire to transcendence," Blied continues. "Music and art can help us do that. To all of our fellow artists toiling away, nominated or not, we want to say keep going and don’t give up! Your art and process is important. It might even save your life or it might save someone else's, whether you know it or not.” 

Despite a number of challenges, there were also lucky moments with the recording process: friends and fellow musicians Frank Evans and Alastair Whitehead (banjoist and bassist of the Slocan Rambers) happened to be on tour on Vancouver Island at the time and were able to lend their talents to a couple of tracks. The EP is also graced by the presence of musical giants Scott White on bass on four tracks, and Daniel Lapp on twin fiddle for the closing track. 

“We are really grateful for this nomination and it means a lot to us at this time,” says Sonstenes. “We worked really hard to make this album... In many ways we came through the fire. 

“We would not be able to record and perform this music without the support of our friends, families and fans, as well as all the supporters and promoters of live acoustic music and independently recorded music.

ALBUMS

LOW CLOUDS IN THE MORNING

Released 2019

Nominated VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR Canadian Folk Music Awards 2020

Recorded and Engineered by Tad Ruszel at Lone Harmonic Studio, Victoria, BC

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CHASING THE SUN

Released 2014

Nominated ROOTS DUO/GROUP RECORDING OF THE YEAR Western Canadian Music Awards 2015

Nominated ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR Canadian Folk Music Awards 2015

Nominated SONG OF THE YEAR International Folk Music Awards 2016 for “River Winding Down”

Recorded on Mayne Island, BC, with special guests Adrian Dolan (mandolin, viola, percussion), Sam Howard (bass), and Darren Nicholson (mandolin). Produced by Adrian Dolan.

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MAY

Released 2012

Winner ISLAND ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR Vancouver Island Music Awards 2013

Nominated VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR Canadian Folk Music Awards 2013

Recorded on Mayne Island BC, with special guests Adrian Dolan (mandola, viola) and Sam Howard (bass). Produced by Adrian Dolan.

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THE SWEET LOWDOWN

Released 2011

Nominated ALBUM OF THE YEAR Vancouver Island Music Awards 2012

Recorded in Parry Sound Ontario, with special guests Andrew Collins (mandolin), and Andrew Downing (bass). Produced by Andrew Collins.

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Buy Our Music

You can purchase our music on iTunesBandcamp, Google Play, as well as other platforms, or directly from us. All CD's $20, except Low Clouds in the Morning $15. You can pay via PayPal using the Donate button below and we will mail you your album. Please add $2 shipping in Canada, $5 for US and International. In Victoria BC our albums are available at Lyle's Place. Thank you for supporting our music!

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